08 May 2007

Royals on the Farm 5/7

AAA -- Omaha: rainout

To be made up in June. Omaha is 14-17 and 4 games back of first. The O-Royals return home today to start a 4-game set with the Sacramento River Cats (20-11, AAA Athletics). Probable starters: Sac'to RH Shane Komine (1-3, 4.67) vs. Omaha RH Zach Day (1-0, 2.29). Sacramento's roster features A's prospects 1B Daric Barton (.229 BA, .707 OPS, leads team with 20 RBI, BP's top A's prospect), C Kurt Suzuki (.302 BA, .764 OPS), P Jason Windsor (3-2, 5.31), P Dallas Braden (0-0, 0.75), IF Kevin Melillo (.289 BA, .821 OPS, also has 20 RBI) and former Royal 2B Donnie Murphy (.348 BA, .957 OPS, 10 doubles, doing well, not really a prospect but a notable River Cat).

AA -- Wichita: Wranglers 4, Tulsa 2 (7/G1)

DH Brazell 2-3, RBI (15), K -- .356
LF Lubanski 1-2, BB, RBI (14) -- .284
SS Falu 1-2, BB, 2B (3), RBI (6), RS, E (7) -- .200
1B Stodolka 1-3 -- .326
3B Lucas 0-3, 2 K, E (6) -- .303
2B Gaffney 1-3, RS -- .333

Elarton 5 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 5 BB, 3 K, WP -- W, 1-1, 3.12 ERA, not great command
Plummer 1 1/3 IP, K -- SV, 4, 0.64 ERA, looking good

Wichita took the opener of a doubleheader as rehabbing starter Scott Elarton bent but didn't break. Elarton stranded 2 Drillers in the 3rd before Wichita broke through in the bottom of the inning on an error that scored Irving Falu and a Chris Lubanski RBI single to take a 2-0 lead. Elarton walked 2 with 1 out in the 5th and got the second out before an RBI single cut the lead to 2-1. Craig Brazell hit a 2-out RBI single in the Wichita 5th but Elarton walked in a run in the top of the 6th before getting pulled for Jarod Plummer. Plummer quickly induced a fly out to get out of the jam and a Falu RBI double in the Wichita 6th made it 4-2. Plummer made short work of Tulsa in the 7th to end it in the truncated twinbill game. Tulsa SS Jonathan Herrera was 1-2 with 2 walks and his 10th RBI to move to .342, RF Jordan Czarniecki was 1-4 with his 11th RBI to move to .247 and Drillers SP Sam Deduno took the loss with 5 2/3 IP of 4 R (3 ER) on 7 hits and 2 walks with 6 K to drop to 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA.

Tulsa 3, Wranglers 0 (7/G2)

1B Brazell 1-3, 2B (5), 2 K -- .356
3B Lucas 1-3, K, E (7) -- .304
CF Greenberg 1-3, 3B (4), K -- .256, team only had 3 hits
RF Valentin 0-3 -- .229
LF Lubanski 0-3 -- .276
DH Stodolka 0-2, BB, 2 K -- .318

Christensen 6 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 K -- L, 0-1, 4.67 ERA
Atencio 1/3 IP, ER, H, 2 BB -- 3.38 ERA

Four Driller pitchers combined on a 3-hit shutout as Tulsa earned a split of the double dip with a last-inning rally. Wichita stranded 2 in the 2nd, including Craig Brazell at third after a leadoff double, and Adam Greenberg tripled with 1 out in the 3rd only to get stranded as well. Wrangler starter Danny Christensen held the Drillers in check 2 outs into the 7th before a single and walk brought Greg Atencio in. Atencio walked a batter to load the bases and then gave up a 3-run triple to Herrera to break it open. The Wranglers went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to end it. Wichita moved to 15-15 and was tied with Tulsa atop the division. Herrera was 2-3 with his 1st triple of the season and 3 RBI (13) to move to .351, former Royals farmhand C Tomas Duenas was 0-2 with a walk and RS to drop to .224 and RP Darren Clarke got the win with a hitless IP to move to 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. RP Steven Register picked up his 10th save with a perfect 9th.

The series finale got an early start today and the Drillers beat Luke Hochevar around to regain the division lead. The heralded showdown with Tulsa SP Greg Reynolds didn't happen as Alan Johnson got the start for the Drillers. The Royals have to start thinking about a potential injury question marks with Hochevar after two straight gas can starts, although he is still racking up Ks. Might just be command problems.

A-Adv. -- Wilmington: Blue Rocks 5, Lynchburg 2

LF Bigler 2-3, BB, 2 RBI (7), RS -- .192
RF Larsen 2-3, BB, 2B (2), RS -- .276
SS Arce 1-4, 2B (6), 2 RBI (7), SB (5) -- .256, 8-game hit streak
1B Kaaihue 1-2, BB, HBP, RBI (11), RS -- .187
2B Maddox 1-3, HBP, RS, SB (1), E (3) -- .304
CF Duarte 0-4, BB, CS -- .264
3B Lisson 1-4, K -- .265

Cortes 4 IP, ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K, HRA -- ND, 5.23 ERA, nice start
Barnes 3 1/3 IP, ER, 2 BB, 2 K -- 2.41 ERA
de la Vara 1 2/3 IP, H, 3 K -- BS, 2, W, 2-0, 0.59, vultured the W

The Blue Rocks offense continued its awakening with a late rally to help make lemonade out of Lynchburg (shoulda waited to use the Jack Daniel's reference until a bigger win over the Hillcats, but whatever). The Rocks rallied with 2 out in the 2nd for a run on a Brett Bigler RBI single after a preceding walk and single. Lynchburg DH James Boone tied it in the 4th with a leadoff homer off Rocks SP Dan Cortes as the first hit allowed by Cortes. He would strand 2 Hillcats in the inning to salvage the 1-1 tie and Wilmington picked him up in the 5th with a 2-out RBI single by Kila Kaaihue to make it 2-1. RP Gilbert de la Vara came in with 1 on and 1 out in the 8th and got the second out before an RBI double resulted in de la Vara's 2nd blown save. Wilmington again didn't miss a beat as the Blue Rocks got to work in the bottom of the 8th. A 2-out walk by Andrew Larsen was followed by an RBI single by Bigler, and later a 2-run double by Valentino Arce made it 5-2. de la Vara didn't mess around as he struck out the side in the 9th to end it. Wilmington is 13-17 and 4 games back while on a 4-game win streak. Boone was 1-4 with his 1st homer and RBI for Lynchburg to set a .250 BA, 1B Jason Delaney was 1-4 with his 5th double and 11th RBI to move to .319 and 3B Tripper Johnson III was 0-3 with a walk to drop to .312. Lynchburg starter Blair Johnson, a Topeka native, allowed 2 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks with 2 Ks over 4 2/3 IP to pick up a no-decision and make his ERA 5.03 while RP Luis Valdez took the loss with 3 ER on 2 hits and 2 walks over 3 IP to drop to 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA.

The series continues tonight. Probable starters: Rocks southpaw Rowdy Hardy (1-0, 0.77) vs. Lynchburg righty Todd Redmond (2-2, 3.46). By the way, the Wilmington News-Journal has an interesting story on-line about OF Andrew Larsen and his road back to baseball after three wrist surgeries cost him the '06 season. It's at

A -- Burlington: West Michigan 6, Bees 1

3B Jirschele 1-2, BB -- .286
CF Robinson 0-4, RBI (2), CS, OF assist at second -- .243
1B Turner 1-3, RS, CS -- .148
RF Gonzalez 1-3, OF assist at second -- .200
C Everett 1-3, K -- .254, team had 4 hits, all from batters 6-9 in the order
SS Bianchi 0-4, 2 K -- .263
2B McConnell 0-4, K -- .245
LF Dickerson 0-3 -- .286

Mozingo 5 IP, 6 ER, 12 H, 2 BB, 2 K, WP -- L, 2-3, 4.50 ERA, start to forget
Hartsock 2 IP, 2 H, BB, K -- 3.38 ERA
Chambliss IP, 2 K -- 0.71 ERA

Whitecaps starter Chris Cody had a lockdown game and Bees starter Harold Mozingo got shelled for 12 hits as West Michigan swept the 4-game set. While the first 6 Bees went down in order, the Whitecaps jumped ahead with a 2-out RBI single in the 2nd off Mozingo with the batter getting nailed trying to stretch it into a double by RF O.D. Gonzalez. An RBI force out by Derrick Robinson tied the game in the 3rd but West Michigan would take control in the 4th. The Whitecaps scored 2 runs that inning off Mozingo on 3 hits, 2 walks and a wild pitch and added another run in the 5th on back-to-back 2-out doubles to make it 4-1. The Bees didn't threaten in the top of the 6th and the Whitecaps pushed 2 more across that inning on 3 hits off Mozingo and RP Aaron Hartsock. Cody left after the 8th and RP Casey Fien mopped up in the 9th. Burlington is 12-17 and 6 games back during an ongoing 4-game slide. C James Skelton was 3-4 for West Michigan with 2 doubles (4), 2 RBI (7), his 1st SB and 2 RS to move to .358, CF Gorkys Hernandez was 3-4 with his 7th double and 12th SB to move to .330 and 1B Ryan Strieby was 2-3 with his 6th double and a walk to move to .333. Cody got the win with an ER on 4 hits and a walk with 5 Ks over 8 IP to move to 3-2 with a 1.13 ERA. The win was West Michigan's eighth straight over Burlington dating back to last season.

The Bees will try to snap the slide in the first of 4 in a split home-and-home series with the division leading Clinton LumberKings (18-11, A Rangers) tonight. Probable starters: Bees RH Jason Godin (0-0, 2.38) vs. Clinton LH Broc Coffman (2-0, 2.36). Clinton's roster features Rangers prospects SS Marcus Lemon (.213 BA, .567 OPS, 8 errors, off to a rough start but only 18, Chet's son), C/OF Chad Tracy (.276 BA, .773 OPS, team-leading 21 RBI) and P Omar Poveda (3-0, 2.19 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, only 19) and a couple other players with MLB pedigree -- C Kevin Gossage (.100 BA, .256 OPS in 10 games, Goose's nephew) and IF Wally Backman II (.200 BA, .467 OPS in only 5 games, obviously Wally's son).

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